Thursday, June 26, 2008

Fern Canyon 6.26.08

We met a wonderful couple from New Mexico/Alaska that are here for his 85th birthday & have had several family members come camping with them. They have come to this park for years & highly suggested a hike up to Fern Canyon - a place Michael had heard of from others & I read as one of 'four great hikes' in this area. It didn't disappoint!! Fern Canyon is best described as a 'lost world' - a narrow canyon with 50ft walls that are carpeted with luxuriant ferns, moss, & waterfalls. the creek flows through with a chilly, crystal clear water right out to the ocean. The hike was beautiful - spectacular views & lots of different scat to try & identify!! Bear or elk...we're just not sure.

Speaking of Elk, as we were driving to our hike this morning, we came around a bend to find a bunch of cars pulled off to the side of the road. There, across the street, were 5 Roosevelt Bull Elks!! They were HUGE and so majestic! They are supposed to grow to be half-ton & these were easily that big!
We saw another one just near the trailhead, a female, that I swear was posing for me! She posed, I snapped a picture, she walked a few feet, I snapped a picture, turned to face me, I snapped a picture, turned her head the other way, I snapped a picture. Although when I told her to 'work it'....she took off. I guess she's not ready for the runway yet.

After we hiked Fern Canyon, we walked out to Gold Bluffs Beach & watched the waves crash in for a little bit. The sun FINALLY decided to come out for a bit & we were lucky we did the hike when we did! When we arrived, there were only 2 cars in the parking lot. When we left, it was full! We travelled into the town of Orick for lunch & a few supplies - then went to the Information Station to find out about road conditions for our departure tomorrow. Good thing we did - the Highway we were going to take, Hwy 299, was closed due to the fires. The alternate route was also closed. So tomorrow, we'll have to take the 199 North into Oregon and then take the 5 South, about a 3 hour delay. Bummer. O-well! I was hoping to get into Oregon! The only bummer is that I'll miss the Bigfoot Museum!!

We finished at the Information Station & drove to the Lady Bird Johnson grove of redwoods for a Ranger led hike. We lucked out and Ranger Jen, from last night's fireside chat, led the hike. The title of the hike was 'The everything besides Redwoods' where we learned of all the other trees & how they benefit the forest, wildflowers, lichens, mosses, & plants in the area. Again, we learned a lot & it was beautiful day.
Back at the campsite, we played a couple more rounds of dominoes (I won this time!), chatted with the family down the way who generously gave me a bottle of Aloe Vera for my leg, ate dinner, & warmed up by the campfire. Tonight's fireside chat was about Black Bears & how to be safe around them & what to do if you see one. It was good, but not as good as the last two.

Oh...a funny thing in the park states "If being attacked by a mountain lion, fight back aggressively." Well, I can assure you...if I'm being attacked, I'm definitely going to fight back!!

We've really enjoyed the Coastal Redwoods & are looking forward to seeing the behemoth giant sequoias...but are most ready for some warm weather!

More to follow...


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